by Don Briggs
The most reprehensible, unscrupulous, and costly development to the American people is unfolding in our Nation’s Capital. As President Obama would say, “Let me be clear.” The Obama administration has been knocking at the front door. While all along, they had the key to the back door and is now standing in the living room.
Remember “Cap and Trade”, a bill that was suppose to set up an Emissions Trading System and thus tailor back greenhouse gases, saving the world from catastrophic disasters? As you are aware, the bill failed to go anywhere in the Senate last month. “Cap and trade” inevitably cratered under the lack of the Senate’s will to pass legislation on an issue that has become indisputably scarred with scandals and misinformation.
President Obama was depending on the Senate to pass some sort of “save the world” climate and energy legislation prior to his visit to Copenhagen on December 19th. Knowing the possibility that the Senate would not pass his needed legislation, Obama had an ace in his hip pocket and would not show up empty handed in Copenhagen.
On December 7, the President unveiled to the world his “Ace” or should I say, the key to our back door. On that day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced, “greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people. GHGs are the primary driver of climate change, which can lead to hotter, longer heat waves that threaten the health of the sick, poor or elderly; increases in ground-level ozone pollution linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses; as well as other threats to the health and welfare of Americans.”
According to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, “These long-overdue findings cement 2009’s place in history as the year when the United States Government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse-gas pollution and seizing the opportunity of clean-energy reform.”
So the question now seems to be, “Who needs the Congress?” The powers the EPA will wield with this key bureaucratic move have always been ones reserved to the Congress, not for a regulatory agency to develop. However, EPA is getting this authority, in the administration’s opinion, from the U.S. Supreme Court. According to the court ruling in April 2007, carbon dioxide (CO2) should be considered a pollutant under the Clean Air Act (CAA). As a result, the court said, the EPA had not only the power but also the obligation to regulate the gas. Remember, this is the same gas (CO2) that we exhale, that we put in our beer and soft drinks and that we need for photosynthesis to make things grow.
Back to Copenhagen:
Armed with the release of the U.S. EPA’s new ambitions to control and regulate greenhouse gases, President Obama told the 193 nations heads of state, “There is no time to waste. America has made our choice. We have charted our course, we have made our commitments, and we will do what we say.”
While the President and global diplomats toil over speculative issues like climate change in Europe, Americans at home are facing much more pressing issues. With healthcare reform, massive government bailouts, the takeover of private industry, skyrocketing unemployment, a declining dollar and the overall status of our weakened economy, we now have the EPA in our living room. Americans today are falling victim to government intrusion of epic proportions.
In regards to the EPA decision, Jack Gerard, President of the American Petroleum Institute, expressly noted, “This action poses a threat to every American family and business if it leads to regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Such regulation would be intrusive, inefficient and excessively costly.” This move by the Obama administration is far reaching, unconstitutional, and will have an immediate near future impact on every hardworking American family.
Don Briggs is the president of the Louisiana Oil And Gas Association.